Danni recently caught up with Gill (39) who is married to Claire (41) they are mummies to Mya (2). They talked about how Gill conceived the couple’s baby and the choices they had to make.
Hey Gill, nice to catch up with you. Did you always want to be a mummy? Did you always see it in your future?
Hi Danni. Yes, I always dreamed of being a mummy one day. As a kid I always saw myself growing up, getting married and having a family of my own – much the same as a lot of other little kids I suppose. I’d always dated guys before Claire so it never really occurred to me that my family would end up being any different to anyone else’s. When I met and fell for Claire things changed, but luckily my dream of becoming a mummy one day was still an option open to us.
Obviously, as you are in a same-sex marriage, conceiving would have occurred slightly differently for you. Can you talk us through the process please?
I guess there are several options open to same-sex couples wishing to become parents these days – adoption, using a surrogate, IVF and IUI (intrauterine insemination) to name a few. We opted for the possibly less well-known medical procedure called IUI, which is similar in some ways to IVF, but much less invasive. Our IUI involved the monitoring of my follicle development and ovulation (sometimes encouraged by medication). When it was determined that the time was right, I went into the clinic for the IUI procedure. This involved the insertion of donor sperm into my uterus using a very fine catheter. And then the dreaded ‘two week wait’ began, before I could finally do a pregnancy test to determine whether it had worked or not. In our case, it took five cycles of IUI before I successfully fell pregnant with Mya.
This is quite a personal question, I hope you don’t mind me asking. How did you decide between you who should carry the baby?
Well, I have always been the more maternal one in our relationship, and Claire has always been the more career-oriented one. So, in some ways, it was a bit of a no-brainer. However, we did discuss the possibility of Claire perhaps carrying our possible future child, and both underwent all of the necessary medical tests in order to determine if it made more sense that one or other of us carry.
How did your friends and family react to your pregnancy?
I think a lot of people were quite surprised. I guess with a heterosexual couple, once you get married, people assume (wrongly or rightly) that you may decide to try for a family soon after. Some see it as the natural next step. But for a same-sex couple, I don’t think people make that same assumption. People seemed very happy and supportive of us when we shared the news that I was pregnant. I guess we’ve been quite lucky that neither of us has heard anything negative about us bringing a child into the world to same-sex parents.
So, to Mya are both you and Claire known as mummy? Or do you have variations on this?
To Mya, I am Mummy and Claire is Mama. We thought it was important to have different names, and not for us to both be Mummy. I’ve heard of others choosing to call themselves (for example) Mummy Gill and Mummy Claire but this felt odd to us. I’ve also heard of others waiting for their kids to decide what they want to call them but wondered what you would do in the interim until they were old enough to speak/decide for themselves. Mummy and Mama seems to work really well, and Mya picked up and understood the difference very early on.
Actually, for a short while when Mya was first born, we jokingly dubbed ourselves Mummy Boob (this was me as I breastfed her) and Mummy Bum (which was Claire who changed most of the first nappies due to my c-section)!
This is going to be another one of the typical questions you must get asked a lot. Do you feel that it is important for Mya to have male role models in her life too?
Oh, 100%! We feel that it is very important for Mya to have both positive male and female role models in her life. It’s important to get a good balance. Luckily, we have a lot of good male and female role models around us, so fingers crossed we’ve got that covered!
Do you think people (society) still pass judgement on same-sex couples and their children? If so, have you experienced this? How do you deal with it?
Yes, I imagine that some people do still pass judgement on families like ours, and think it wrong for us to bring a child into the world with two Mums and no Dad. Luckily, so far, we haven’t experienced this, and people have been very supportive. Perhaps it is early days yet, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how accepting people have been.
Interview by Danni, Mummy Social Team